Your campaign started far before other candidates had even been declared and focussed on issues such as jobs, education. Now you’re taking on BJP’s Gautam Gambhir head-on. Could this be construed as a negative campaign?
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Many issues happening now are because of the fact that BJP parachuted a celebrity candidate at the last minute. You have a candidate who was declared on the last evening before the day of nomination, and you see his nomination form has not been properly filled and his voter ID issue has come up. These are not issues we are creating, these are issues they are creating and we are just highlighting. This is not something we had planned but the fact of the matter is that there were problems with dates on his nomination affidavit. The discrepancy is obviously the outcome of some serious legal issue. And now we have this voter ID problem. It’s not like we were planning anything against Gautam Gambhir but the fact is that there are serious problems with his paperwork.
East Delhi seems to be the most hotly contested seat, with three people seen as heavyweights competing.
Congress is not a heavyweight anywhere in Delhi. Ever since AAP was formed, in Delhi politics the third place has been reserved for Congress — 2013 assembly elections, 2014 Lok Sabha, 2015 assembly, 2017 MCD — and the same is going to happen this time.
But Congress’s Arvinder Singh Lovely is believed to have strong roots and a lot of experience. Won’t the lack of an alliance hurt you?
Lovely left Congress for BJP during MCD elections. I remember many Congress workers had to take down posters because his photo was on them. At the ground level, no one in Congress supports Lovely. He is not even going to get 10% of the votes this time.
What are the core issues you plan to focus on going forward?
The core issue that affects all people in Delhi is the question of full statehood and that is what we’re taking up in a big way. We have improved schools, but even though children are doing well in school, they are not getting admission in colleges because of high cut-offs and reservations for residents in colleges in other states. Similar problem is with jobs. One of the biggest issues across East Delhi is safety and security. And Delhi police is under the Centre. Is chain snatching and illegal liquor hoarding in Kalyanpuri something the Prime Minister is expected to worry about?
The party leadership is throwing a lot of weight behind your campaign. Arvind Kejriwal has campaigned the most in East Delhi. But there are murmurs of discontent in other constituencies about lack of attention they’re getting.
Both East and North East have been very strong bases of AAP. These are the neglected parts of the city, this is where the common man stays. Most of East Delhi lives in unauthorised colonies, resettlement colonies, slum clusters. And that is where the most amount of work has been in done. Jor Bagh, Greater Kailash and Jangpura don’t really need that kind of attention from the government.